It seems that nightly the temperature dips to freezing or below and the ground freezes. My feet are starting to be able to sense how cold it is by the give of the ground. I test them out on the tiny grassy mound that sits in the middle of the car park. When it's freezing, the grass cracks under my weight and the mud doesn't get on my shoes.
On Friday, walking back from campus at 9 p.m. the puddles left from the rain were frozen over. A smooth watery puddle transformed into ridged icy surface. I stepped on them and slid my feet over them in play, to see how slippery they are.
Last Monday the lake on campus was frozen over but for a little sliver where some ducks and seagulls swam. I sat on the fifth floor of the library and wondered why the edge didn't freeze. I'd think the deeper parts would stay open and the shallow edges would freeze. Was it the warmth of the earth that kept it unfrozen? Was there a lot of duck activity in that area? My train of questioning was interrupted by the single goose that announced his arrival into the park. A lone goose. He landed and wandered up hill, pecking occasionally at the grass and looking around. I hoped he was not really lost.
Yesterday, I walked to town along the river and there was a bit along side the path which had a thin layer of ice on it. It was melting and shiny. I stepped along the ice, breaking it into pieces. I jumped here and there to see if more force produced a greater crack. I did this for a few minutes until a runner came by and I made my way back to the path with slight embarrassment.
I've been wondering if this freezing and thawing is good for the earth in the way that exposure to hot then cold is good for the circulatory and immune system in a human. Is it a flush? Does it benefit the animals any? Or the trees? Is it simply confusing, as it is for me, to be hopeful one day because it's getting warmer and I can do with one layer less and then disappointed the next when it's so cold another layer is needed?
I enjoy the ice, anyway. I like to watch the bubbles beneath it pulsate. I like to watch birds land on it. I like to crack it. I like the way it changes the look of things. And I'll be glad to see it go and make way for spring.